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Plant in Leetsdale blaze blends chemicals for Marcellus shale industry

The oil and gas chemical processor that caught fire Tuesday in Leetsdale was part of a $750 million acquisition by a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Ohio-based Lubrizol Corp. bought the facility in December from Weatherford International to start an oilfield services unit that makes chemical treatments for wells and additives used during drilling and hydraulic fracturing in shale formations such as the Marcellus.

Lubrizol spokeswoman Julie Young said the plant “primarily blends chemicals for oilfield applications” and employs 41 workers across three buildings. Shale gas drillers and producers use chemicals to make water and gas move more smoothly in wells and for treating liquids.

The facility has been in operation at that site since 2003, according to its most recent hazardous materials waste management inspection by the state Department of Environmental Protection in October 2014.

That inspection, conducted when Weatherford operated the plant, found four low-level issues involving the location of storage containers that were immediately corrected.

“From our standpoint, there were no violations. Our people thought they handled things very well,” said John Poister, a spokesman for the DEP’s office in Pittsburgh.

In June, a chemical in a storage container boiled over but was captured by a containment system. The DEP found no violations or spills.

Lubrizol has about 9,000 employees worldwide working in chemical additives, specialty polymers and its Houston-based oilfield services unit.

In related news, evacuation lifted after fire at fracking chemical warehouse.

David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802.

This article was written by DAVID CONTI from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.